Guatemala: III Americas Social Forum

October 20, 2008

The III Americas Social Forum took place October 7-12 at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City. The gathering was composed of a space “to bring together all of the different forms of resistance and alternatives to neoliberal policies that have been created… and for the development of critical and original thought” (Irene León, Agencia Latinoamerica de Información) among the thousands of participants from all over the continent.

The forum was made up of a plethora of discussion groups, workshops and seminars organized under 6 main themes: Achievments and Challenges due to Changes in the Hemisphere; People in Resistance to Neoliberal Policies and Imperial Domination; In Defense of Quality of Life while Confronting the Capitalist Opresor; Diversity and Equality; The Ideological Dispute; and Original Peoples and Nations, Indigenous and Afro-descendents.

The Red por la Paz, of which SIPAZ is a member, also participated in the forum through a seminar titled “Land, Territory and Social Conflict.”

The presence of Bolivian president Evo Morales was anticipated for October 9. Unfortunately he was unable to attend personally, though he did prepare a statement in solidarity with the forum (see below) which was read that same afternoon.

The Social Forum was concluded with a March of Indigenous, Campesino, Workers Union, Black, Feminist and Popular Resistance which left from the Obelisco in the south of the city to the Central Plaza. At the plaza in front of the National Palace participants of the forum read the final declaration of the Social Movements’ Assembly (see below) in which “the Mérida Initiative, Plan Colombia, the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America), military bases, the School of the Americas and the Fourth Fleet” were denounced. The declaration also stated, “We are participants in a decisive and historic moment for humanity. In these few days the disaster created by the capitalist system has become evident, something those of us from social movements have been warning about for a long time.”

More Information:

III Americas Social Forum Website

More Information in Spanish:

Minga de Movimientos Sociales

Púlsar: Agencia Informativa

The II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization takes place in La Esperanza, Honduras

October 16, 2008

Slideshow of the II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization

The II Hemispheric Meeting Against Militarization took place between 3 and 6 October, 2008 in La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras. The meeting saw the participation of some 800 individuals and 175 organizations from 27 different countries including: Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, the United States, Canada and five European countries.

During the 4 day gathering 19 regional based cases of “solidarity/urgent actions” were presented in which participants denounced the current militarization status of Haiti, Colombia, The United States, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Triple Border (between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay), Honduras, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Uruguay, Guatemala y Paraguay.

On October 3 and 4 workshops were presented on several diverse theme including: Indigenous Peoples, Afro-Americans and Campesinos; Immigration; Social Movements; the Criminalization of Social Struggle; the Fourth Fleet; the Triple Border; Military Bases; the Military Industrial Complex; the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America); Free Trade Agreements; the Mesoamerican Project (formerly the PPP, Plan Puebla Panama); IIRSA (Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America), the Merida Initiative and Plan Colombia. The reflection on possible plans of action was divided into regions: South America, Mesoamerica (including southern Mexico), the Caribbean and the North (including northern Mexico).

At the closing of the meeting the Final Declaration was read to the participants and later made public (in Spanish, see below). On the morning of the 6th, the gathering was concluded with a march and subsequent demonstration held in front of the United States military base located in Palmerola, Comayagua, Honduras.

Final Declaration of the II Hemispheric Forum Against Militarization (Spanish)

More information:

Hundreds Gather to Confront Militarization of the Americas (Americas Policy Program, 05/10/08)

More Information (in Spanish):

Sitio del II Encuentro Hemisférico contra la Militarización

Campesinos e indígenas protestan en base de Palmerola y exigen su cierre (Proceso, 06/10/08)

Campaña por la Desmilitarización de las Américas